A spinal cord injury is a catastrophic injury that can lead to permanent disability. Injury to the spinal cord can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia. Regardless of the level of paralysis, the consequences can be devastating for the victim and their family members.
Unfortunately, a person with quadriplegia may never be able to move or feel any sensation. They cannot have children, care for their personal needs, or work. They are completely dependent on other individuals for their care.
For that reason, it is crucial that you fight to hold the party who caused your injury accountable for your damages. Your spouse may also be entitled to compensation for a loss of consortium claim.
What is Quadriplegia?
Quadriplegia is one of the most severe types of spinal cord injuries. Also known as tetraplegia, it involves an injury to the spinal cord between the C1 and T1 vertebrae. In other words, the injury occurs high on the spinal column in the neck or at the top of the upper back and causes complete paralysis below the injury site.
The person may experience:
- Loss of movement
- Muscle atrophy
- Loss of sensory function
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Inability to engage in sexual functions
The level of paralysis depends on the injury site and whether the injury is complete or incomplete. Typically, the severity of the injury increases the higher up on the spinal column the injury occurs. A spinal cord injury can result in loss of movement, function, and sensation from the injury site down.
Therefore, a spinal cord injury at the T1 vertebra can result in loss of function from the neck down through the legs. The loss would include the shoulders, upper chest, arms, abdomen, and legs.
A complete injury is a total loss of all feeling and movement below the injury site. An incomplete injury occurs when the person only loses some motor and sensory function below the injury site. The degree of loss depends on the severity of the injury.
Doctors may use CT scans, electromyography, x-rays, and MRI scans to diagnose a quadriplegia injury. If the scans do not show any signs of injury or trauma, the doctors might need to wait a few days to perform the tests again once any swelling goes away.
How Is Quadriplegia Treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for quadriplegia. You cannot repair damage to the spinal cord. However, it is possible to treat the symptoms in some cases.
Doctors might prescribe:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Immunosuppressant medication
- Occupational therapy
The treatment is tailored to the person’s level of function and specific injury. In some cases, treatment and therapy will not improve the person’s condition at all.
Treatment, health care, and living expenses cost millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime. That does not include the other losses a person sustains, including loss of income and a decreased quality of life.
Common Causes of Quadriplegia?
Many of the causes of quadriplegia are preventable. These events are the result of negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
Common causes of quadriplegia and spinal cord injury include:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle crashes, truck accidents, and car accidents
- Injuries from sports and recreational activities
- Intentional acts, such as assault
- Workplace accidents
- Amusement park injuries
- School and daycare accidents
- Medical mistakes
- Injuries caused by defective products
- Premises liability claims
Florida personal injury law provides a legal remedy for injury victims. They can sue the party who caused their injuries for compensation for damages.
Generally, you must prove the legal elements of a negligence claim:
You have the burden of proving your case to the jury.
What Damages Can I Recover for a Quadriplegia Injury Claim?
The damages in a quadriplegia injury case fall into three categories.
Economic damages are the financial losses and expenses a person incurs because of their injury. These damages include:
- The initial cost of medical care and diagnosis
- Medical bills for ongoing healthcare needs
- Future medical treatment
- Long-term nursing care and personal care
- Lost wages, including future loss of income, benefits, and earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Modifications to the person’s home and vehicle to accommodate their disability
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Permanent disability and impairment
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Physical suffering and pain
- A decrease in the person’s quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A jury may also award punitive damages if the injured party proves the defendant’s conduct amounted to malice, oppression, or fraud. Punitive damages “punish” the defendant for their conduct.
How Does Contributory Fault Impact a Quadriplegia Claim?
Florida adopted a pure comparative fault standard for personal injury cases. That means you are not barred from seeking compensation for damages if you contribute to the cause of your injury. However, if you are partially to blame, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.
For instance, suppose that a jury decides you were 40% to blame for the cause of the car crash that caused your spinal cord injury. They award you $3.5 million for the claim. However, because you were 40% to blame for causing the car crash, you only receive $2.1 million.
Insurance companies often use contributory fault. Insurance adjusters may try to get you to accept part of the blame for your injury. Therefore, you should allow your injury attorney to handle all communications with the insurance company.
Are There Deadlines for Filing Quadriplegia Injury Cases in Boca Raton, FL?
Florida statutes of limitations restrict the time you have to file a quadriplegia injury claim. Most personal injury claims have a four-year filing deadline.
However, there are exceptions. The deadline for filing medical malpractice claims is typically two years.
It is best to talk with a Boca Raton injury lawyer as soon as possible after an injury. Waiting too long to seek legal advice could result in losing your right to pursue a claim in court for damages.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation With Our Boca Raton Personal Injury Attorneys
Any level of paralysis is challenging. The costs and personal loss are overwhelming. You deserve fair compensation from the person who caused your injury.
Contact online our law office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Boca Raton personal injury lawyers at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers. Our legal team is ready to help you fight for the money you deserve after an accident and injury. Call us at (561) 347-7770.